Virtual Race: Run for the Refuge!

Wed July 1 - Mon July 20
Race Website

Additional race information can be found at

Anywhere you'd like! Due to COVID-19, we are converting the Discover Ottawa Run/Walk scheduled for July 11, 2020 to a virtual event. What does that mean? You can complete your race on your own at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, in your community, or even on a treadmill.

Run for the Refuge!  
Lace up your running shoes and help to protect critical wetland habitats at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

We exist because...
Fresh water is a finite resource. We are working to protect it. The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Complex is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, the 11th largest lake in the world. The Great Lakes contain about 20% of the world's fresh water but they are in jeopardy. The wetlands at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge play a critical role in the Lake Erie ecosystem, acting as the kidneys of the landscape; working to protect NW Ohio's drinking water, work, and leisure. They also provide important nesting and stopover habitat for birds, fish, and wildlife. Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge works to support Ohio's only national wildlife refuge complex through fundraising and volunteerism so that we can be the change that our wildlife and community deserve.

Going virtual was not in anyone's plan for 2020, but we want to make absolutely sure that we are keeping our staff, volunteers, and you as visitors safe. Because this is now a virtual event, 100% of your registration fee will support Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and our mission. 

What exactly do we do? Some of our recent accomplishments include:

  • Protected 40.57 acres of land through our Land Acquisition and Restoration Fund.
  • Received Ohio EPA grant to plant trees, native grasses, and flowering plants on 40 acres of land.
  • Completed Wildlife Drive improvements including 9 pull-offs and a restroom mid-way through the route.
  • Partnered with 10 organizations to build the Visitor Center Fishing Access with an ADA-accessible fishing platform.
  • Constructed West Harbor Landing observation deck, parking area, kayak launch, kiosk, and pollinator habitat.
  • Built Turtle Creek Island Unit and Middle Toussaint Unit parking areas and kayak launches to promote fishing and paddling.
  • Constructed Boss Unit Shorebird Deck for birders and photographers.
  • Provided stipends for 27 13-week internships in the last 5 years.
  • Purchased tour bus to provide free and accessible public access at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Created an Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge license plate available at Ohio BMV's.
  • Received Ohio Environmental Education Foundation grant to equip the Refuge Ranger Station with educational materials and fund a Visitor Services staff position.
  • Sponsored public events focused on fishing, hunting, environmental education, photography, and youth camps.

Race Information

What are you waiting for? Register to Run for the Refuge today! 
If you've never done a virtual race before, you just register online as usual, select swag options (t-shirts, water bottle, etc.), and then do the race on your own. With virtual races, you can complete the distance on your treadmill at home, on Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge's trails, or even around your neighborhood. Then just log your time by July 20, 2020. Consider completing our 1M, 5K, or 10K event to help us continue raising funds for conservation during this crazy new reality. Any swag options that you purchase will be mailed to you after the race by August 15.

Age Classes:

  • 9 years and under
  • 10-14 years
  • 15-19 years
  • 20-29 years
  • 30-39 years
  • 40-49 years
  • 50-59 years
  • 60-69 years
  • 70+ years

If you choose to race at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, we have a recommended route for the 1M and 5K options. These courses are on gravel hiking trails and provide you an opportunity to see a variety of habitats and wildlife - including Bald Eagles! Since the courses are on our hiking trails, you can come back and exercise at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge whenever the mood strikes you. Trails are open from sunrise to sunset with some seasonal closures for maintenance and Bald Eagle nest protection.

Race Contact Info

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